Speaker’s Post; It’s NDA’s Om Birla Vs INDIA Bloc’s K Suresh

New Delhi:  The Congress-led Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.) bloc on Tuesday has decided to field its candidate for the Speaker’s post after the government and the Opposition could not reach consensus on the issue, signalling more possible confrontations in the 18th Lok Sabha.

Congress leader K Suresh would take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Om Birla, a former Speaker, for the crucial position in the Lower House that convened a day ago amidst protests and a renewed war of words between the warring sides that faced off in a bitter election campaign earlier this year.

The election scheduled to be held tomorrow at 11 am.

The twists and turns of the day came after an outreach effort by the government and a meeting of top leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There were initial signals that the government and the Opposition could reach middle ground on the Speaker’s and the Deputy Speaker’s posts.

But those did not last long. Sources indicated that the government sought the Opposition’s support for its Speaker candidate, Birla. In return, the Opposition demanded assurance that they be given the Deputy Speaker’s berth. The government was not on board with the proposal for conditional support, a minister said.

“They said, ‘First decide the name for Deputy Speaker, then we will support the (government) Speaker candidate’. We condemn such politics. A good tradition would have been to choose the Speaker unanimously. The Speaker does not belong to any party or Opposition; he belongs to the entire House. Similarly, the Deputy Speaker too does not belong to any party or group; he belongs to the entire House.

Hence, there should be consent of the House,” Union Minister and BJP parliamentarian Piyush Goyal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

After filing his nomination, Congress MP Suresh said: “There is a convention in Lok Sabha that the Speaker will be from the ruling party and the Deputy Speaker will be from the Opposition…Deputy Speaker is our right. But they are not ready to give it to us. Till 11:50 am, we were waiting for a response from the government, but they did not give any response. That is why we filed the nomination.”